475 (9/16/09)

     Life doesn’t have to always be about new records, but they are still fun now and then.  Our twelfth annual Fall Fishing Day last Saturday was great fun, and set a new Trail Guard record for number of fish caught.

     I think you could ask any of the twenty-four kids or seven adults who joined us that morning, and get the same answer from any of them--we had a great time.

     We were joined, for the third year in a row, by Michelle Kelly, an education specialist from the DNR, and one of the facilitators of the DNR’s award-winning “MinnAqua” program.  Michelle also co-led our recent BWCA trip, and has been involved with Trail Guards here and there for some time.

     The MinnAqua program teaches angling recreation, as well as the importance of stewardship, ecology and conservation of aquatic habitats.  Their efforts, including their production of the “Fishing: Get in the Habitat!” Leader’s Guide, won national recognition in 2008, and delivers an important message to young anglers in a fun, hands-on manner.

     Michelle brings an incredible passion to her work, especially for the resource--the lakes, the clean water, and the fish.  She could go on for days about the interesting and amazing features, habits, and facts about fish, as well as the wealth of water resources we have right in our Minnesota backyard.  

     Michelle brought to light a unique and interesting fact about Minnesota’s water resources.  Most regions of the country receive water from somewhere else.  Rivers flow into those states, bringing runoff from who-knows-where that contain who-knows-what.

     Minnesota’s rivers all start right here, with very minor exceptions (small creeks into the Bois De Sioux and St. Croix).  We feed three great watersheds. 

     The great Red River of the North flows to Canada and Hudson Bay. 

     The steams and rivers of the Lake Superior watershed flow through the Great Lakes, over Niagara Falls, and to the Atlantic ocean. 

     And, of course, the mighty Mississippi carries a huge volume of Minnesota’s rain and ground water through the middle of our beautiful nation, past countless towns and cities, under hundreds of bridges, and finally to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico.

     Some small streams even leave Minnesota in the southwest for the Missouri River, which nearly doubles the size of the Mississippi when it joins it just north of St. Louis.

     Thanks to Michelle for an interesting and exciting day.  As for our new record:  last year, at the same location, on the same weekend, with the same hooks and bait, we caught many dozens of crappies and sunfish.  This year we had a wonderful time on a beautiful late-summer morning at the Five-Mile Bridge, and caught exactly zero fish.